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iPhone 3GS Doesn't Support HSUPA for High Speed 3G Upload

Macworld is reporting that while the iPhone 3GS chipset does indeed support the new (for North America!) HSPDA download speed of 7.2 Mbps, Apple didn't see fit to equip it with the matching HSUPA upload speed of 1.4/1.9 Mbps. Indeed, they claim the iPhone 3GS will top out its uploads (sending videos to YouTube, emailing photos, etc.) at a comparatively anemic 384 Kbps.

Perhaps not a big deal in North America where, as noted, the GSM networks are still building out their speed. (Hold your laughter, CDMA, your upload speed is faster but it's not like you've flipped the switch to Rev B yet either -- you all have your hidden shames!).

In Europe, however, where HSPA networks are as mature as their coffee is good, well... they're going to suffer senselessly slower upload speeds.

We've asked you in the past how fast your downloads were, now let us know how your uploads are doing, and how much HSUPA -- or the lack thereof -- matters to you.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

25 Comments
  • Noticed upload speeds didn't change.
  • Thanks, Apple!
  • I am sure the phone is technically capable of higher upload speeds if ATT had their network provisioned for that.
  • No comment....
  • Why the hate on US coffee? The good stuff comes from the same place...this dunkin' donuts iced coffee is good. ;)
  • Hmm just read the article. I guess it isn't "technically" capable. CDMA really is superior. If CDMA had a better global presence, I am sure they would have gone that route.
  • Our tea is better in the UK.
  • Yeah, just did a test here in Miami and go 144 kbps up, so guess I don't have to worry about this. I did get 1.14 mbps down which isn't too bad.
  • How is it possible that AT&T can have the Cadillac of phones and the Ford Escort of networks?
  • i'am european and yeah,our coffee is good. upload is something ridicoulos too,down here i mean. never gone beyond 300 kpbs while i easaly reach the 4 mbps in download.
  • Again lets keep in mind that Rene wasn't looking for network info in the U.S he was wanted people abroad to talk about their upload. One thing to note is how dramatically the iphone effects networks because of the ease of use. We have drowned flikr and every other uploading services creating never before seen percentage increases I for one don't mind. i couldn't imagine the strain on any network uploading at 1.4 from every iphone 3gs that youtubes and it will become more with other apps incorporating youtube like fast and furios and more people buying the units. It was intentional I am sure and was probably asked by all cellular providers not just at&t. my 10 cents
  • Not sure why so many complain about AT&T. After coming from Tmobiles EDGE network, AT&T's network is great. I think people expect wired broadband in their hand at all times.
    However, I noticed when I took my iPhone to Germany, the O2 network was even faster. Probably had alot to do with the amount of people accessing it.
    I'm in the suburbs of Chicago, in case you're wondering what my reference point is.
  • I'm honestly not too crazy about upload speeds. All I'd ever upload are videos to MobileMe and the phone can do that in the background.
    I don't understand why apple does these things though, maybe it's a feature they'll tout in the next version?
    "3.3 megapixel camera, faster uploads, same great design!"
  • The phone may just need a firmware update to realize those speeds. Not sure how mature the software is for the new radio chip.
    ermax18, before you say CDMA is superior, keep in mind you can't make a call and use data at the same time, and that's pretty huge. A few percentage points of speed advantage doesn't overcome that IMO.
  • Hey Rene" can you find out why can't I copy a picture and paste it in a link bar to uplode it on sites like Twitter where you can have face pics.Or touch on the Browse button and get a picture out of you picture gallary to upload the pic" I'm happy with my 3.0 softwear on my 3G but thats the only feature I would love to have. Apple is always slacking on features" you think you have something but you don't.
    Please find out for me.....Thanks"
  • Quote Article:
    Apple didn’t see fit to equip it with the matching HSUPA upload speed
    Are we sure this has anything to do with Apple?
    Typically, upload and download speed have more to do with your internet upstream connection. This stuff is never limited by the terminal equipment.
    Seems like blaming 3Com Nics for a slow upload in your desktop machine.
  • Because a picture you copied is not the same as a linked location on a hard drive the link tells the site where to look on your hard drive to upload it a copied pic is just a new jpeg image you wouldn't be able to copy a jpeg into a link box on a desktop either
  • Until video chat over the phone is a reality, who cares about upload speed.
  • Most people have ADSL or DOCsys connections at home which are also asymetrical. A typical ADSL on Telus is 2Mb down and 400ish up.
    Extreme high speed may go 5 times faster down but only 2x faster up.
    Around here (Vancouver) I have been getting about 1.5M down and 120k up. It was higher before HTC Dream and 3GS sucked the life out of the network.
    I am not complaining. It is better than Telus and Shaw's base high speed offerings.
  • Maybe they did it to save battery life?
  • @icebike: No, the blame is placed correctly as it's indeed the chipset that's at fault here. I could theoretically get up to 5 mpbs upstream with my mobile provider here in Japan and it's also my phone (not an iPhone for that matter) that caps the possible datarate to 384 kbps.
    @bill: I think this is really a hardware limitation and a software update won't do anything to fix it. There are certain modems that in the past were able to go from 1.8 to 3.6 Mbps downstream, but none that ever made the jump from 384 kbps to a higher upstream.
    Apple's chipset is simply not HSUPA capable and only god (or better, AT&T) know why. This and the crappy display resolution are the reasons why I'm not getting a 3GS. And while the display resolution is admittedly a tough nut to crack (app compatibility issues galore) implementing HSUPA was neither technically nor financially unfeasible.
  • Our network in Australia supports 21mbps downloads, 5.8mbps uploads.
    The iPhone does not support those speeds, it's not a network issue.
  • @Michael... "crappy display resolution"... as compared to what; 1080p?. You do realise it's a phone and not a TV, I presume?.
  • @Matt
    True it's a Phone but other competitors have higher res. It's time 4 an iPhone HD with atleast 720P resoultion like a Zune HD
    @Frog, your Australian network with 21Mb downstream and almost 6Mb upstream is amazing I wish AT&T had that!!!!
    I'm in Chi-Town and always in a 3G zone so I can't camplain much but, I do want a iPhone HD with an OLED screen and a physical Keyboard that would be a sweet limited edition I'd pay mad money FOR!!!
  • On my old phone i had fast upload. I really miss HSUPA when thethering.
    Maybe the next iPhone will be named iPhone 3G US :)